Come fly with me

with Max Gove

Although retired from full-time work, Max has committed 50 years of his life to serving with MAF in a variety of roles. He loves seeing God open doors into new countries.

When did God call you to mission work?

I was seven years old when I knew God wanted me to be a missionary. At 14, I read Jungle Pilot, the story of Nate Saint, the MAF pilot martyred in Ecuador. It was then that I felt that my calling was to be a missionary pilot.


Where have your MAF adventures taken you?

I served as a pilot in Ethiopia, directed operational activities in Kenya and held several other aviation and management positions while based in the UK. In my years as Special Projects Manager, I led research and development surveys in 13 new countries including Mongolia, Bangladesh and Timor-Leste. It was wonderful to see God opening up these new countries to MAF.


How does MAF decide which country to work in next?

It’s a complex process, but it begins with identifying where MAF can make the greatest impact. Before a survey, our team collects information about the country, people, politics and spiritual situation. We pore over maps, books and websites, and contact missions and churches already working there.

This essential information prepares us for the first of several survey trips, when we begin identifying areas of need in remote locations and asking how we could make a difference. We meet as many contacts as possible to build a picture of the local situation. By the end of the survey, we need to be confident that MAF’s work will help build God’s Kingdom.


How long does it take to set up flight operations in a new country?

The short answer is longer than we would like! From initial research to final permission, the process can take anything from six months to six years and, in some cases, might not happen at all.


Where next for MAF?

Research over several years has conclusively shown that MAF is needed in Guinea, a country where the roads are mostly unpaved and rail travel isn’t even an option. I am delighted to report that we have just set up a new programme, and are close to obtaining the necessary permissions to begin flying.


There must have been times when you thought about doing something different. What has kept you going all these years?

For me, it’s a spiritual thing. My call to MAF hasn’t changed, so I want to continue helping in any way I can. I’m currently serving as a Trustee, which brings together my mission experience and operational knowledge. I plan to keep going until I hear otherwise!


What excites you most about what MAF is doing around the world?

It all comes down to knowing that MAF really does make a difference. Whether we’re saving time, saving lives or providing the only way of reaching remote communities with medicine and the Gospel, people do much better with us than without us. Our vision is to see spiritual and physical transformation in Christ’s name; it’s His work and that’s what makes it so exciting.


Why does MAF need a support team in the UK?

For the people we serve, flying is not a luxury but a lifeline. We rely on the generosity of MAF supporters to make sure our flights are highly subsidised, with some journeys costing no more than the equivalent bus fare but saving hours of travel by road. A gift to MAF might help a dentist reach a clinic in an isolated village or fly a seriously ill patient to hospital. Because our focus is on building God’s Kingdom, prayer support is also vital.


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